No Smoking on the Starship Enterprise!

We sometimes get questions about the “No Smoking” sign we have in our Star Trek Phase II transporter room:

No Smoking Signage

Star Trek Phase II Transporter Room: No Smoking!

There were no “No Smoking” signs in The Original Series–neither on the bridge nor in the transporter room.  Other than an appearance on the Earth-like planet in the episode “Miri,” the first appearance of a “No Smoking” sign (and fire extinguishers) is in the second Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan.  Director Nicholas Meyer wanted to add a few touches that make the Star Trek universe and the people in it seem a little more real and a little more “like us” and not quite so idealized people of the future. In an interview, Meyer said:

“One of the reasons I did this picture was to make the people real.  That’s all that interests me.  Why can’t Captain Kirk read a book?  Why can’t he do anything that we do?  One of the things I had to back off on was having him smoke.  There’s a sign in the simulator that says “No Smoking on the Bridge.”  Somebody [well, it was Gene Roddenberry] said they’re not going to smoke in the 23rd Century.  I said “Why Not?”  They’ve been smoking for four hundred years.  People haven’t given it up despite the Surgeon General’s warning.  Why can’t they drink a cup of coffee?  I kept thinking that the bridge was like the bridge of a destroyer with fog around and guys in pea jackets coming up with coffee.”

Indeed, the “No Smoking Anytime on Bridge” signage can be seen adjacent to each of the two turbolifts in the bridge simulator:

Here it is next to the port-side turbolift (with a fire extinguisher on the other side of the door).

No Smoking Signage

And the starboard-side turbolift has the same signage:

No Smoking Signage

You can read the signage hiding back behind Captain Spock a little bit better in this shot:

No Smoking Signage

Of course, this same set had to be used as the bridge simulator and the Enterprise bridge and the Reliant bridge–so they had to make some changes each time the set was redressed.  Even the red fire extinguishers from the simulator were swapped out with silver colored ones for the “actual” bridge in order to make the sets look different. The “No Smoking” signage appears only in the simulator, not on the Enterprise bridge itself and not on the Reliant bridge.  Here’s a shot of the Enterprise bridge:

Lack of No Smoking Signage

…and a shot of the Reliant bridge:

Lack of No Smoking Signage

You can also see that the signage wasn’t present in The Motion Picture at either turbolift:

Lack of No Smoking Signage

Lack of No Smoking Signage

And they aren’t present on the bridge in The Search for Spock (and the fire extinguishers are gone, too):

Lack of No Smoking Signage

Lack of No Smoking Signage

So, when do we start seeing the “No Smoking” sign in the transporter room?  Well, it’s not in The Motion Picture  (since the signs started with director Nick Meyer in the second movie).  Here are some shots of the transporter room from TMP–with no “No Smoking” sign in sight:

Lack of No Smoking Signage

Lack of No Smoking Signage

Some signage does appear in the transporter room in The Wrath of Khan.  But this “Caution” sign has just two rules on it–“Place feet in center of pad” and “Keep extremities within transporter field.”  (The word “Caution” is on the left and these two safety rules are one above the other over on the right.)  But this signage doesn’t yet have “Rule No. 1: No Smoking.”  You can see the signs on both the left and right side of the transporter chamber on the Regula Lab space station:

Lack of No Smoking SignageLack of No Smoking Signage

…and in the transporter room of the Enterprise itself:

Lack of No Smoking Signage 

Lack of No Smoking Signage

The “Caution/No Smoking” sign finally shows up in The Search For Spock.  Two of them are in the transporter room at the Starbase (on either side of the transporter chamber).  The word “Caution” is on top and the three safety rules are below it:

No Smoking Signage

No Smoking Signage

…and one of them is in the hallway outside the Starbase transporter room:

No Smoking Signage

And then finally, the “Caution/No Smoking” sign appears in the Enterprise transporter room itself a bit later in the movie–as the Klingons beam aboard the soon-to-be destroyed Enterprise:  

No Smoking Signage

We get a good look at the sign in the wraparound documentary that was shot for the special version of “The Cage” that was aired for Trek‘s 20th anniversary in 1986:

No Smoking Signage

No Smoking Signage

So, that’s the deal on the “No Smoking” sign.  Its one and only canon appearance on the Enterprise is in The Search for Spock.

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Author Greg Schnitzer

More posts by Greg Schnitzer

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Is the coffee sign on Port or Starbucks?

  • "Dickerson" - Charlie Miller says:

    Quite interesting. And thorough ! Thanks.

  • Mike Jones says:

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • As a smoker I find this both interesting (fascinating) and logical that something like a “No smoking” sign would be on the “Enterprise” like this.

    Thank you for this…

    And as to helping with a couple of bucks, I am as poor as the day is long, the production company I have has $0 so all I can really do is offer to share my company site and make my show available to you should you ever wish to boldly go there and share this or that with my listeners.

    The main show is on the following site:

    http://blogtalkradio.com/firefoxnews-online

    There are show where the language is a bit ruff around the edges so just be warned bout that…

    Peace and long life to you all…

  • Dave Lee says:

    Well think about it, with all the different cultures here on Earth that smoke different plants for spiritual and ceremonial reasons, in the 23rd century there would be different races that probably smoke things also. As well as certain races and beings who would be allergic to or offended by smoke. Pity about the fire extinguishers though. Anybody who has worked around ships or aircraft like I have will know that it’s always handy to have a handheld unit around just in case the Automatic Fire Suppression systems go Kerblooey!

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